The steps you take (or fail to take) after an accident can have serious consequences on your ability to recover just compensation for your injuries. For instance, if you share too much (or not enough) information with your insurance company, you may harm your ability to get the most out of your coverage. Similarly, if you neglect or wait too long to seek medical treatment for your injuries, you could jeopardize your ability to recover financially.
The attorneys at Tijerina Legal Group, P.C., a McAllen accident law firm, want you to know your legal options and avoid making some of the common mistakes that accident victims often make after an accident happens. The following information is provided to help guide individuals through the steps to be taken both immediately and a little later after a collision.
1. Remain at the Scene and Contact Law Enforcement
Individuals who have been involved in an automobile accident should remain at the scene and call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Even if you do not believe you or your passengers have been injured or the damage to the vehicle was minimal, it is important to contact law enforcement to ensure an official accident report is created.
2. Seek Medical Attention
When an accident occurs, it is not uncommon for an ambulance to arrive, even before the police. If you are offered the opportunity to be taken to the hospital, take it. Accident victims can experience internal injuries that may not be realized right away by the victim. Going to the hospital for an examination is not only a good idea health-wise but also from a legal standpoint. If your case ends up going to court, your lawyer will need to be able to demonstrate the injuries incurred were due to the accident. If an accident victim waits to obtain treatment, it may be quite difficult to prove that the accident was the cause of those injuries, thus harming your chance for financial recovery.
3. Obtain Driver/Passenger/Witness Information, But Watch Your Conversation While Doing So
If you are physically able to do so, be sure to obtain the contact information of all other drivers involved in the accident. Jot down the license plate numbers of all vehicles involved, along with the driver’s name, address and phone number. If anyone witnessed the accident, be sure to gather their contact information as well. But whatever you do, do not admit fault to anyone, not even as much as an “I’m sorry” during casual conversation while waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Doing so could be detrimental to your case.
4. Take Photos of the Vehicles and the Scene and Jot Down Notes
It is also important to take pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles involved, either with an actual camera or a cell phone camera, if that is the only thing available. Make sure to take photos of the damages sustained, the surrounding area and any other physical evidence.
You may also want to write down notes with respect to what happened just before and after the accident so that nothing is forgotten as time passes.
5. Contact a Law Firm and Keep a Journal
Time is of the essence when dealing with the aftermath of automobile accidents in McAllen and elsewhere in Texas. That being the case, it is crucial for accident victims to seek legal guidance and representation as soon as possible. Further, to help your attorney seek just compensation on your behalf, keep a journal and jot down notes daily after the accident about the pain experienced, your inability to return to work and/or the emotional impact the accident had on you.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, contact Tijerina Legal Group, P.C. right away.